Do we need the term BAME?

By Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay* – Economics Observatory


The acronym BAME lumps together black, Asian and minority ethnic groups as disadvantaged. Yet not all these groups and certainly not all individuals within them can be characterised as disadvantaged. There are better methods for identifying disadvantaged communities and designing appropriate policy.

One of the recommendations in the recent report of the Commission of Race and Ethnic Disparities (the Sewell report) is to discontinue the use of the term BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) as a catch-all to describe ethnic groups who are disadvantaged in the UK. It was introduced as a collective term in the 1960s and 1970s for administrative convenience to identify ‘black communities’ and was eventually expanded to encompass other, mostly non-white, ethnic minorities.

The term has received a lot of criticism in recent years, ……

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*About the author: Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay is Deputy Director of the Centre for Globalisation Research and Reader in Economics. She is also the lead for the UK-wide research group, Research Circle for the Study of Inequality and Poverty.

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